Friday May 23 2014
Hey folks 🙂
Lovely to see you here!
Sometime ago, I took part in the #FlashFriday twitter hashtag event. What would happen with this is that creative writers of all shapes and sizes would write short 1000 word stories and post them for the community to read and feedback on every Friday. Unfortunately, that hashtag has now been subsumed by pornographic imagery, taking the idea of ‘flash’ to a whole different interpretation.
So, I’ve decided to try and relaunch it – whether or not it gets traction is up to the community of course 🙂 so now, here below – I’ll add the first #FictionFriday story I’ve made in a while. It’s very loose at the moment, but if people like it, I might be able to push it in a more effective direction, possibly continuing into different parts – let me know your thoughts in the comments!
(I’m as rusty as an old nail, so don’t be too harsh!)
A new holographic technology, one that truly gave people an immersive experience was just about to hit production, but there is a lot of scepticism out there about this kind of technology.
“People want something different than television, but don’t feel a truly ‘immersive’ experience will do what it says on the tin. This WILL. Our product puts people right in the centre of the action, mentally and almost physically too. Technology has advanced to the stage where we can make truly photo-realistic visuals. So realistic, that we’ve found in our testing that sometimes people would not know they were in the world we created for them. Whilst this is a good thing, it doesn’t make for high brand confidence.”
Grant was addressing a small group of shareholders at the headquarters of Repli-world. “We need something to differentiate our worlds from the ‘real’ world. I’d suggest that maybe we could have white items in the world, something that glows brightly, or just stands out. Make it so that the user can touch them to return to the ‘real’ world.” Grant waited for a moment, “Or if there are other suggestions?”
The advert appeared sometime ago in the local newspaper, she didn’t read those usually, but for some reason this advert stood out on the page, it spoke to her.
“Wanted, hot new talent to define the biggest thing since television. We need new, fresh ideas to bring life to the stale grind of repeated story-lines. We want YOU to help, send us your project no later than one week of this date, and may the future smile warmly on you.”
It wasn’t like the usual adverts she saw, this one was different, it resonated with her. Perhaps, she thought, it was her break. The one she needed to get her writing, her voice out there.
With the project finally completed, after countless hours, takes, retakes, editing and re-editing, a victorious yell leapt from her mouth, “YES!!!!! I finally done it, yaay!”
she had nailed the audio just the way she wanted it, the perfect scene.
Now, all that was left was for her to set up the presentation and get it ready for submission, she was sure this would be it, this would be the key, her key to a prosperous future.
After everything had been done, Heidi didn’t know what to do next. She thought she would need to show it to her friends before she finally took courage enough to sent it in, it mattered to her, to get their reactions to the project.
Yet, she felt she couldn’t let the project go, she knew of course, she knew she had to, but, it was hers and had been hers alone for so long that she wondered if it was even suitable to send to the studio at all.
If it felt so important to her, would it be wise to give so much of her self-worth over to a corporation, with profits its main goal?
She really didn’t know, but then, she had started for a reason. She felt it was true to what she wanted her life to be.
It was a huge risk, she imagined, the biggest she had ever taken. Whether it was that sort of risk or not remained to be seen, but at least to her, it was the only thing in the world important to her at the time. What then, she pondered, if it was successful, what if it took off and people loved it, was she ready for the big-time? or worse, would people actually hate it? would that ruin her?
Again, she wasn’t sure. For too long, she had lived in the mire of self-doubt and uncertainty. But instead of giving up this time, she decided she was going to take the leap… The biggest step she’d ever taken in her life, was afoot…
Later on that night, Heidi arranged to meet her friend, Lucy after dinner. She always liked Lucy, Lucy always told her what she thought in all honesty – never sugar-coating what needed to be said. Although, Heidi for the most part still wondered if she was just trying to delay putting it out.
“It’s great!” Lucy expleted, “I cannot believe how real that feels to me, definitely, put that out – gawd you’d be a fool not to!”
“What? – You really liked it?”
“Yes, Really! it’s amazing! If they don’t want it, they’re not worth it. Trust me, get it out there babe.” Lucy was effusive, it really gave Heidi a huge confidence boost, she felt warm inside.
Later on in the evening, whilst walking home, Heidi reflected on her friends enthusiasm for her project, it wasn’t Like Lucy to be so enthusiastic for anything Heidi wrote, but she felt buoyed by it, so much so, that Heidi had put it in the envelope she’d made earlier and put it in the post-box.
The next day, Lucy could not get Heidi’s story out of her mind, she thought about it all through work and even into the evening. She still felt that sense of engagement she had when she first read it. “Wow,” she mused aloud, “Heidi really outdid herself on this one, I hope she’s successful.”
Upon arrival at the studios, the brightly coloured envelope caught Grant’s attention, it was interesting enough that he had to fish it out from the seemingly ever increasing mountain of brown and white that got larger with every day that passed.
After reviewing the story, Grant was engaged just as much as Lucy had been
“That HAS to go into our system, no two-ways about it! It’s exactly the sort of enchanted story-weaving we’ve been after.” Grant continued,
“This project will rock the world, make things better, might be a bit bumpy at the start, but we’ll make it work. We need it to work, the world counts on us to give them something unique. Something from the heart, that will stir the soul. Too much is rewritten and rehashed, that whatever meaning was present in the original text no longer applies. We need something relevant for the future, something that will make people wake up and think about the future and where they exist within it.”
Thursday Sep 22 2011
Well now, that was an interesting experience for sure, in two days I managed to cobble this together for first time in a long time, a very long time that I actually wrote something 😉
At 1032 words this is more of an experiment in writing styles and its not really meant to be taken that seriously, if you read it, I would be delighted to hear your thoughts both on the style and indeed the content if you wish to comment, and please excuse me about the rough nature of it, I’ve ran out of time to go through and properly edit it. So, without further adieu – I present:
The Professor’s Machine
“…hmph…, so this is what it comes to, does it? putting the tweaks to my Syncrotron is taking so much longer than I had ever anticipated…. “
Tweak….Fiddle, Clatter, Click…
“Fangnammit, this is giving me a headache….”
“Machines, what have they ever done for me huh?”
“All they seem to do is break down when I’m around.”
“…… hrm….. what if…. “
Twiddle, Click, Fiddle….
“Now, what have I done – have I made what I wanted to, or have I just made this the worlds most complicated machine ever for producing a hum? ”
Out from the speaker came a voice that sounded like a strangled cat trying to speak…. “That depends *crackle* on what the fra…..*bleep* ….me of reference is….*blip*”
*crackle* *fizz* *bleep*
*Twiddle*, *Twiddle*, *Click*
“Well, it depends *crackle* on your perspective on things, *blip* doesn’t it?”
“You didn’t just talk to me, did you?”
“*crackle* yes, it did.”
“This is not possible…. your not meant to be that sort of machine!!!!”
“*Blip* Really, why did you link it up to your head then?”
“Its supposed to link to my thoughts as a storage for memories…. and why on earth am I talking to you?”
“*Cracle* You’ve been talking to yourself for years, why should today be any different?”
“What? I mean, eh? … huh?”
“*Blip* Perhaps the machine is working differently than you hoped for, and linked to more than thoughts and memories?”
“Maybe, but hey, didn’t I just think that?”
“*Blip* Yes I think I did”
Surprised, the professor takes off the probes attached to his head and walked away pondering, just what exactly was going on, what had he created?
was it a mind-reader?
a manifestation of thought, a delusion?
or was his machine doing what it was supposed to do in a different way than he intended, an external representation of an internal voice?
“This needs more experimentation – it could be amazing!” the professor proclaimed, to thin-air. Then, grabbing that all-important coffee and returning to the machine, he re-attached the probes to his head.
“Ack, I don’t know if I’ll ever get the hang of this….”
“*Crackle* sure you will, it’ll just take some time to get used to!”
The professor visibly shuddered just before the machine uttered:
“*Blip* This is unnerving.”
“Your telling me, or is it…. I am telling me….”
“*Click* Ick…this is really headache country.”
“Okay, Okay, focus… lets try testing this thing.”
“*blip* yes, yes I hear you – what can we do to explore this”
“*whir* internal dialogue is spoken aloud from the machine”
“*blip* does it matter if I talk or not?”
“It seems that just after the internal dialogue – I hear its expression through the speaker.”
“*click* evidently this is true.”
“So, if my internal dialog is presented here, can I converse with it?”
“*blip* yes, so why don’t you ask a question?”
“It is often thought that hearing things aloud somehow makes the context clearer, so what shall we ask….”
“*crackle* I have no idea what I want to ask.”
“What is my fondest memory?”
“*blip* Heck, start with the easy ones why don’t you?”
“*crackle* I guess, all I can remember right now, is the first time I met my best friend Sal”
*blip* It was a warm sunny day…”
“Go easy on the cliche’s huh?”
“*Crackle* It was a warm day, I remember because I had to dive for the nearest shade after walking for about 3 mins. That’s when I bumped into Sal, literally.”
An image flashed into the professor’s mind, such clarity and presence that it almost overwhelmed him with its realism. In fact, he could swear he was in that moment right there. He felt the sudden and unexpected impact of Sal’s chest and felt his face go flush in crimson.
“…..Oh, um…. pardon me, Miss”
Her face, also crimson, laughed nervously and had a smile to match – “heh, oh, um, its alright I guess, I wasn’t looking where I was going…”
“It wasn’t you, it was me, I was careless.”
“Uhuh… hrm….” her eyes darted around looking for a change in subject to hit her in the face,
“Oh, well, um… I’m going that way….. “
“Oh, right, “ he cleared his throat, “and I’m…. uh going this way…”
“Ok.” she paused, “Erm, see you.”
He responded… “right, right, yes – must get going. Sorry.”
With that, she left, and after a time, the room around the professor came back into view.
“Well, that was something…. never remembered with such clarity before….”
“*blip* indeed not, now…. what can we do with this…”
“*crackle* yes, power”
“Well, theoretically, anything really if this has actually got the depth I suspect it has…”
“*blip* yes…. limitless possibilities…. but where to start….”
Well, the professor mused again… if that happened with a relatively clear memory, what would happen if we try it with a relatively vague memory….
“Okay, how about……. Can I remember the first day I went to school?”
“*blip* Only very vaguely, but that is what we are testing isn’t it?”
Again, the images seeped into his head from what he thought was the edges of his perception, until, like before, the images surrounded him, sinking him into the moment. All around him were blurry shapes and faceless forms that were dark and muggy. Upon focusing though, the professor tried to think the forms into place using the memories that he had a clearer recognition of in order that the shapeless forms might gain some substance and perhaps familiarity. In the shapeless vision before him, he realised he was holding someone’s hand, it was his mothers. With that realisation, he remembered her face and with that, the shapeless form morphed and became that of his mother wearing a red dress she had been fond of, almost by magic then the surroundings began to come alive as thoughts linked to memories and memories linked to visions.
*FIZZLE* *CRACK* *POP*
The images wavered and were gone, the machine apparently blew a fuse…..or something…
Clearly, he had pushed the machine too hard and needed to go back to fixing it…. until the next time.
Wednesday Sep 21 2011
Okay world, time to start kicking the proverbial into gear, its been too long since I found any inspiration from anywhere, so I need to start simply to start typing and see where it leads. I’ve actually formulated a couple of interesting ideas for some new Flash Friday stuff – but damned if it’ll be difficult getting into the flow again, enough of the excuses though – get going.
I hate to spoil my ideas, but needless to say the thoughts going around are of the very abstract and quite frankly weird approach to the individual character and their world.
I’ve not put the proverbial pen to paper in so long, in a way it feels somewhat freeing to do it again, I think what I need is another dose of the Novel PI 😉
so what am I going to do (write) now…? 😉
Laters for anyone watching – I don’t think there will be many at this point though, the blog has been dead too long…
Friday Dec 25 2009
The dance hall was vibrant, lots of people littered the floors appeared to be smiling and enjoying themselves. As the music played, the melody was only interrupted by the occasional clatter and clang of glasses being brought together in toasts for everything from World peace to the Birthday Girl, it was her 30th birthday. She was wearing a vibrant red dress that flowed like liquid with every move she made. She was hauntingly beautiful with long, streaked blonde hair decorated by a sparkling array of jewellery.
Then, slowly, the DJ started fading out the current music, proclaiming “and now for something very special for the lady of the evening…..This is for you…” the song began fading up as the singer started… “Lady In Red…” the dance floor slowly emptied for all but a few couples.
She sat, patiently waiting for her husband to take her hand, but he did not…
Now really what would I do in this situation? I’m stuck on the words again and, you know that happens a lot. I’ve been sat here for ages trying to get the right thing to include into the story but it just wasn’t working out.
Well, what did you expect? I’m a newbie writer, its not so easy to just hammer down a story just like that you know, you have to be in the right mood. Or maybe that’s just an excuse to procrastinate, but we’ll never really know until we have a word with ourselves, will we?
Psychologically speaking I guess an author has to grow new Neuro connections in their brain to be able to just flow words out at the drop of a hat, to give their characters life and feeling. After all, a character needs life you know – they are people too. To stick them on a page with no basis or context as to what they are doing or why is in itself a recipe for disaster, or if you’re lucky – a few!
Then again who’s to say the characters have to be people? what would happen for example, if lots of frogs littered the floors appearing to smile and enjoy themselves…. well it certainly would change the dynamic a bit wouldn’t it?
Well, to be honest, it doesn’t help with the husband intervening all the time does it, I swear I keep having to delay and replan for my writing time and that really sucks for any new writing. I’d love to set up a writing sanctuary, away from the chaos – but then if I did that, he’d think I was abandoning him. Oh, what to do, what to do?
Hrm, lets take a walk and see what’s happening, you never know when inspiration will strike – so notepad in hand and a pen at my side, I decided to step out into the hustle and bustle of the Saturday markets. It was very busy at this time of the year, many people shopping for food or whatnot for the festivities. It’s been snowing you know, quite heavily, you could barely see the ground for the varying hues of white and brown, mixed up to form some sort of sporadic camouflage colours.
Comically, I just watched someone fall flat on their face at their door – haha, right – I’ll add that to my notebook, you never know when one of the main characters will be in snow you know, I’ll leave the birthday girl alone for now, I’m not done with her yet!
A very cold breeze was blowing, the kind that went straight to your bones at the slightest breath, still, at least it was fresh – not like that horrid stuffy kind you got in the summer, yes, I think winter is a nice time of year, many people wouldn’t but – meh, who’s to bother with that!
It was a cold Christmas Eve for sure, but still, the energy flowing between the people was intense, almost electrical, you could almost hear the crackle in the air if you have such an imagination. But, certainly it felt warmer in the market. Some might say that was because of the number of people milling around the stalls, others might say the force of energy does that. There’s no way to know for sure really, I try to keep an open mind on such matters.
Still, I find inspiration somewhat elusive, maybe I’m not meant to be inspired today. Continuing my trek through the market and cold, it wasn’t far before the atmosphere dwindled and diluted before a similarly desolate atmosphere melted in, the streets away from the market are dark, creepy and lonely. I felt my heart speeding up, the response to fight or flight welling up inside me like the dwindling embers of a roaring fire slowly growing to grasp at the clutches of flame all over again.
My breath erupted in a spout of water vapour, almost like the very air was being stolen from my body before I was finished with it. I pulled my jacket tighter to myself and kept walking, I had no idea where I was going – I just went. This wasn’t unusual for me, but tonight seemed so much more foreboding than usual. As I turned the corner I heard the loudest shriek from a woman, further down the road and my embers BURNED, I was terrified. What would I do? run, hide, help?, try to help – my mind was frozen, just like my fingers. I had came to a halt at a corner, so far I wasn’t seen by either of the two people, one woman, one man – it looked like she was running, or trying to, all I had to do was yell – it would distract the man long enough that she might get a head start. But if I did that, I would be next on the firing line, I had to yell and hide very quickly, there was some rubbish bins nearby where I could crouch and hide.
Well what else could be done? I certainly wasn’t leaving her to her fate, oh no – so I leaned around the corner and yelled: “HEY! WHO IS THAT!?!!?” The man paused, looking back before turning and, seeing me on the corner, he gave chase. I jumped between those bins for everything that is dear to me. If anyone, not just me, saw him, he would be in trouble of course and that was bad news for anyone that did. Thankfully, the woman got away – I hope she is safe. My heart was thumping so hard and fast now, I was almost afraid he’d hear it. By the way he was hovering on the corner, in fact, I was sure he could. But eventually, he grunted “Arrgghh” a very deep, angry and aggressive grunt at that. I dared not move, at least, not just yet anyway. After some minutes, I didn’t know how many – it was lots, my fingers were all pins and needles, I decided to venture back into the world.
But goodness it WAS cold, it was time for me to head home. I didn’t get the story I was looking for of course – but then, these things rarely go to plan. I’ll need to get back to the Red Lady at her birthday party sometime, but not before I get some food and give the husband a cuddle.
Merry Christmas peoples!
Friday Dec 18 2009
Sercheti was a little town almost humble by comparison to its yearly influx of cash from the sale of the gemstones. The buildings were mostly wooden, and lined the river on both sides. The town itself was nestled quite snugly between the river and the cleft of trees behind it and sat at the very beginning of the river before its winding passage took it through the forest. The obvious trading traffic used one of the main roads that connected with the Glades somewhere North of Sercheti. Many of the other roads that connected the various towns were nothing more than dirt tracks used by foot travellers or people on horses or donkeys.
The poorer people might use a donkey to carry their goods, the more affluent or noble people had horses. But by far the most common was people on foot with backpacks which they could carry around with them to set up stall wherever they felt might bring business. In this area certainly the link for most of the foot roads was at the glade, the glade was the central hub for the area. The main paved road through the region was there. So more often than not there would be a makeshift markets there at various peak times during the week.
~~~ Matt started his day, pretty much the same as every other day in Sercheti, he was a miner and it was his duty to seek out the gemstones in the Crystal caverns behind the waterfall.
He usually worked in the evening, preferring that time of the day because the position of the sun leant the caves a very beautiful sparkle far more subtle than you would get at the peak of the day. The caves had various holes in the ceiling, some made deliberately by the miners and some were naturally formed. He liked the naturally formed areas the best because they had a way of bending the sun in so many directions that would not be possible for the man-made counterparts. In some places the sunlight hit crystals above and bounced around as if in a cascade from crystal to crystal to form the most exquisite light patterns and beams.
It was one such evening that Matt found the red crystal, that exceptionally rare crystal that was only found once in every five or six years. Any miner who found these crystals were paid an awful lot more money than the other miners, because of the expert skills required to locate and subsequently extract them. The trouble with Matt was that he wasn’t a very good miner, in fact he’d only just completed his four year apprenticeship and acquired the title and rights of a Journeyman miner. This was his first full shift.
Upon seeing the red glint, he was unsure of what he saw – surely he couldn’t be just that lucky? Before too long he saw the glint again. It was coming from the left hand side of the cavern, looked to be tucked in way at the top of the caverns sides. He was told about the red crystals and their infamous rarity and also about how dangerous they were to extract, something about highly unstable compounds in it. Matt just thought that was just a scare story to stop the younger miners getting their claws on such a coveted item. He wanted to get it and prove that the stories were rubbish and started to look for a way to climb up and get it, looking around for a while, he saw what he was looking for and began moving towards the side wall.
Aside from the lack of mining skill, Matt could climb – in fact he was the best climber in his family of three brothers. So rather than seeing an assortment of edges and jaggy crystals on the cavern walls, he saw opportunities for handholds and even a path up to the red glint. So carefully, one hand over the other, he bagan to climb the wall sometimes, he would imagine the thought of himself as a spider, placing his limbs out and up as if he had those eight legs and if you saw him mid-climb, you might just agree with him as hand over hand leg over leg, he began to slowly make his way up the edge of the cavern wall.
Eventually, Matt reached the red crystal – it was actually hidden behind various jagged white crystals that magnified the glint of the red one. Using a rope he tied himself around one of the larger crystals and slowly taking his pick out of his pack, began chipping away at the white crystals around the red one. He kept some of the larger chips that came off the white crystals and kept going until the last few surrounding the red one came away. One of the final blows he made glanced of the edge of the red crystal and caused a small crack, “Shit!”
If a crack was on a red crystal it would be devalued and seeing this crack he had to think of something, fast. While he was staring at the crack and pondering what to do, he noticed that the crack was black, almost like a gaping maw where his pick had glanced it. If he extracted it now, it’ll likely get a much lower value when he weighed it in. After a few moments, his face brightened up and he realised what he could do, “Why not break it in two?” he mused aloud.
The idea seemed so simple, break it in two, weigh in one of them and hold onto the other – keep it for another time. So, having made his decision Matt decided to bring the pick down and attempt to make the crack even larger of course the odd thing was, when he brought his pick down to the existing crack, it came back up covered in black. Not sure what to make of it, after wiping the goo off the pick he tried again. No such luck, it still came back up covered in black. It was like the red crystal was bleeding black, like blood. Looking closer at the blackness, he almost thought it was spreading, spilling out over the whole crystal but it was so slow, so very slow he couldn’t work it out. By now of course, he was getting a little bit nervous – he had no idea what he was dealing with. He soon began to regret being the arrogant sod who wanted to be famous for finding the rare red gem. The black still oozed out of the crevice that had appeared on the gem and minute by minute the ooze became a stream and then a torrent. There was very little of the red crystal to be seen now and the black was all over his hands, it felt icy cold, like pure dread seeping into his soul, something was badly wrong….
Frozen by fear, Matt was unable to move from where he was hanging, suspended from the larger white crystal and powerless to free himself, much less climb down the canyon walls. From the coldness in his chest, he felt a growing nausea emerging like a ball of grease building up his insides. It wasn’t too long before the nausea grew so intense he had to heave and wrench so hard that the rope holding him tight to the white crystal bit into his gut. The pressure built and built before he had projectile vomiting. The vomit itself was bubbling and black as it took flight in the air, travelling mere inches before gravity overcame the mass, bringing the vomit to the floor with a sickly splat and gurgle.
By now, his insides were in flames and Matt couldn’t hold a single thought but for the searing pain travelling through his body in shocking waves. His eyes rolled into his head and he convulsed before he let out a burble and he crumpled. Hanging limply from the rope, Matt was dead, leaving the cavern once again silent but for the eroding hiss from the black ooze